Passionate performance. Gioachino Rossini
Gioachino Rossini, who was a famous Italian composer, conducted an orchestra himself in 1816 while performing his own opera “Tankred” in a provincial Italian theatre. The story that happened that day became a part of annals of theatrical tales.
Rossini conducted sitting by the orchestra as usual. And as the main hero, Tankred, mounted the scene, the woman who played that role started to sing. The thing was that Rossini composed the part of Tankred for contralto and such kind of voice could rarely be found among man. The majestic and irresistible knight, who was wearing a helmet and armour, started to sing the aria about his ungrateful motherland. Rossini was very impressed by the singing, and as the voice muted the composer was the first to exclaim:
- Bravo! Bravissimo!
The shout was caught up by the audience and the admiration was expressed in storm of applause. The singer, who undoubtedly noticed Rossini’s admiration, was naturally flattered. Playing on, she started to shoot sparkling glances at the composer’s sight.
After the act was finished, Rossini decided to visit the actress in the dressing room in order to express his admiration by her vocal abilities personally. Knocking at the door in a polite manner, Rossini came in and saw the actress accompanied by a maid, who helped her to fix the make-up. Having noticed that Rossini came in, the singer just stood up still and then almost grabbed the maid and led her out locking the door behind her. After that she turned to the composer and exclaimed:
- Finally! Finally the moment has come! I’ve been waiting for it like nothing else in my life! Now my dream has come true – I’ve finally met you! Embrace me, maestro, you are my idol!
However, embracing was not a simple thing to do as the actress was much taller than the composer, he hardly reached her shoulder. Moreover, the woman had mighty figure and wore phony armour. So the armour became Rossini’s trap. Feeling that his bones were just about to break, he cried out:
- Signora! You will squash me! Your armour is going to trash the life out of me! Don’t you have a small bench here, so that I could reach your height?..
- Wait a minute, maestro!
But that “minute” took much longer than it was supposed to be as the armour was laced too tight. But it turned out that the woman had not only majestic voice and passionate temper but also a very resolute disposition. She snatched out a sword fastened on her belt by such a jerky movement that the composer just pushed aside:
- What are you doing? – he asked deeply terrified and gasped immediately.
The singer ripped up the lace by a single hit of the sword and the armour fell to her feet, showing Rossini her vast and movable feminine beauty. Having her armlet and knee guards on, she came up to the composer, who set his back against the wall and stared at her mighty chest. The singer pulled her hands repeating:
- Wait a minute, maestro..
A sudden idea saved the composer from inevitable violence:
- How can you do that! You are to be on scene in two minutes and your costume is all messed!
Probably the actress was sobered up by the remark, as she stopped immediately, and Rossini, who availed himself of the opportunity, turned the key and jumped out like burning out of the dressing room. Having noticed the maid, he cried aloud:
- Go to signora, quickly! Her armour is spoiled, you need to fix it!
As for the composer, he rushed to his seat back to the orchestra. However, when the time came Tankred didn’t appear on the scene. The audience already became indignant when the supervisor came out and asked for silence. He announced that they had trouble with the actress’s costume and she asked the public to allow her sing wearing a coat. People showed displeasure but soon they calmed down as the actress who came back and sang adored them with sincere singing. The actress received a great ovation again.
So, that was the only time the main hero of the opera “Tankred” performed the aria wearing a grey coat. And as for the person responsible for the accident, Gioachino Rossini, he didn’t even stay for traditional banquet, as he left for Milan immediately..